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FORUMS Post Processing, Marketing & Presenting Photos The Business of Photography 
Thread started 03 Oct 2013 (Thursday) 09:47
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Automotive Photography - How do you make money

 
canis89
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Oct 04, 2013 18:07 |  #16

will read later, also interested :)


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Myboostedgst
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Oct 04, 2013 18:30 as a reply to  @ canis89's post |  #17

Thank you brad for the info. I am starting out very similar to you. I currently shoot for a number of friends, and am reaching out to some local car "groups" to become an official photographer. Boost my image (I just recently got my watermark and branding decided on) and will then start to shoot a variety of cars for free to build my portfolio and get my name out there.

It is interesting though, with how you went shooting for so long for free. I tend to agree with your method, but from reading what everyone says on here, they say that you must charge immediately. I don't believe that (as soon as you charge, you are expected to provide results). If you shoot a car for someone without pay and only give them a few decent shots, then you can say sorry and you would like to try again next time. They will be much more accepting than if they paid you and you say the same thing. I don't want to start charging until I can charge close to my desired full amount as if I were a professional. I don't want to pigeon hole myself into $50 car shoots.

In case anyone is interested, website is listed below. I haven't brought this out to the public yet, so it is still a work in progress.


www.andrewsmithphoto.c​om (external link)


Andrew | Midwest Automotive (external link) | Flickr (external link) | Instagram (external link)

  
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bradttu
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Oct 04, 2013 21:10 |  #18

Anytime... You need to do what you are most comfortable doing. There are a lot of people on here that have opinions, but they're just that...opinions.

You're on the right track, though. Get your name out there in the local scene and then word will start spreading. It's not going to happen overnight. Make sure you hit all the car shows you can. If you're going to do that, I'd get a shirt with your name on it. That'll be just that much more advertising, cheap too.

As far as charging goes... Think about it like this, would you pay someone a few hundred bucks to do something for you that they've never done before? I know I wouldn't. But if that same person says they'll do it for free, what do I have to lose? That was my outlook on it. It worked too because my portfolio grew very quickly.

Let me know if you have any more questions. You can PM me and I'll give you my email address and we can go back and forth. I don't mind helping you out at all.


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Myboostedgst
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Oct 07, 2013 01:34 as a reply to  @ bradttu's post |  #19

I went out to shoot a buddies car tonight. During the shoot, a friend called him up and stopped by. Before I knew it, the brand new to town R32 Skyline stopped by and I was able to grab a few quick photos of it. Just posting a few of those photos up on facebook got me into a whole different crowd than I was previously exposed to.

Unfortunately the entire import car scene in my city is saturated with photographers. I think I would have better luck with venturing into different scenes and seeing what is available there (muscle, trucks, bikes, etc), but I am still going to try the import scene as that is my first true love.


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steelbluesleepr
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Oct 07, 2013 02:11 |  #20

Myboostedgst wrote in post #16351848 (external link)
Unfortunately the entire import car scene in my city is saturated with photographers. I think I would have better luck with venturing into different scenes and seeing what is available there (muscle, trucks, bikes, etc), but I am still going to try the import scene as that is my first true love.

you just have to separate yourself from the crowd. I've shote almost solely import cars for my automotive portfolio so far, just because all of my friends in the car scene have an import. I've done everything from a 2nd-gen DSM to an NSX, but everything is Japanese. I've been trying to branch out, and my latest shoot was a BMW, but you just have to keep pushing your skills with what you have access to.

Until I moved to St. Louis last month, I was the go-to guy in the Springfield, MO import scene for people that knew what they wanted and were willing to pay for it. Now I have to start from scratch!


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bradttu
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Oct 07, 2013 08:55 |  #21

steelbluesleepr wrote in post #16351874 (external link)
you just have to separate yourself from the crowd.

I've been trying to branch out, and my latest shoot was a BMW, but you just have to keep pushing your skills with what you have access to.

Great points... Separating yourself from the crowd is key. Something as simple as offering clean rolling shots or rig shots can be an edge that you have over others. Sounds simple, but if someone doesn't know how to do it and you do, people will come to you because of the "action" you capture.

Branching out is another important step. I'm labeled as a truck guy just because that's the majority of the magazines I shoot for. Combine that with my location in Texas where most everyone customizes their trucks. That becomes a bit mundane after a while, but it's easy money. I like doing something different when I can like a street rod or high horsepower car.

Another thing I started doing, and still do on occasion, is carry cards with me. When I see something I'd like to shoot, I put a card in the weatherstripping in driver's side window or under the wiper.


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Myboostedgst
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Oct 07, 2013 09:57 |  #22

You guys are absolutely right, I need to set myself apart. There are a few other really good photographers in the scene, and they seem to do alright. When I ask them about anything to do with their business, they clam up and wont speak about it. They only do it part time though.

All of the other photographers are out there with base level DSLR's, snapping away without any thought of composition or exposure, and providing instagram style editing. But because they are friends with everyone, and do it for free, that is what the majority of people want. I know what they say, if a potential client is happy with sub-par performance, then it isn't the right client for you. Very true, but money is money and any client is better than no client. I just need to start finding the right clients and stop worrying about the cheap car owners who are happy with sub-par, free photos.

This winter I plan on researching and picking up a rig to expand my options. Along with that I am going to finally get myself an external lighting setup. I feel that a rig and external lighting will be the two things that will be able to set me apart from all of the other instagram photographers in the area. I also desperately need a CPL, but that should be coming soon.

bradttu wrote in post #16352404 (external link)
Another thing I started doing, and still do on occasion, is carry cards with me. When I see something I'd like to shoot, I put a card in the weatherstripping in driver's side window or under the wiper.

This I think is my next step. People very well may be willing to pay for my current work, if they only knew that I was out there. The only marketing that I have is a facebook page, a website (that isn't even released to the public yet) and some "tags" on a few popular local car club facebook pages. I think my next big step will be business cards to hand out and offer up some free shoots into different scenes (trucks, muscle, bikes, etc) to try and get my name and some referrals into those new scenes.

I also do like the thought of a few shirts to wear when going about car shows and the like.


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drewl
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Oct 07, 2013 12:10 as a reply to  @ Myboostedgst's post |  #23

i work for a couple of formula d teams and rally america teams and email them photo sets after each round. that's my bread and butter.

i also sell individual photos to other pro and amateur drifters and rally drivers from time to time. no one driver is really steady but all together it's steady enough.

because i'm at all of those events, i can create content for lifeblasters.com and attract advertisers that way. occasionally other sites buy photos from me, either because one of their photogs missed something important or they didn't have a photog available for some event.

the teams i work for also sometimes have special events like practice/testing days or shows or things like SEMA that they need covered, so they pay me to go shoot those events.

almost all of what i do is for BUSINESSES who need material for advertising/promotion satisfying sponsors, and news coverage. i've made very little money selling stuff to people who just want to have a picture of themselves.




  
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JacobPhoto
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Oct 07, 2013 13:38 |  #24

Myboostedgst wrote in post #16351848 (external link)
I went out to shoot a buddies car tonight. During the shoot, a friend called him up and stopped by. Before I knew it, the brand new to town R32 Skyline stopped by and I was able to grab a few quick photos of it. Just posting a few of those photos up on facebook got me into a whole different crowd than I was previously exposed to.

I think I know which car you shot. It's a car I shot when it first landed on the US, it's a pretty sweet car! It's a Nismo edition, right?

One thing I've learned is that while photos are nice, editorial outlets often want a story along with it. I have two clients who specifically use me not just because I can provide photos but can also provide the story as a turn-key one-stop solution. They get both parts of the story in one invoice, and they know I am able to cater my story towards their specific writing style. I also bring many features to them that they would not have otherwise known about. To them, this makes me more valuable than your 'average' photographer who might just be able to provide photos once or twice a year when there's a feature that is needed in the city they are located in.

Drewl also brings up a good point of having your own publishing outlet to showcase some of your work that others might be interested in. When I started out, I shot for an event coverage site that also did occasional features. One of the magazines saw a feature I shot on the site and reached out about running the car in the magazine. What started out as a free shoot for a friend's website turned into a paid shoot simply because the shoot fit a need for another client. I also ran my own event coverage site for awhile, and had several advertisers reach out to me who saw my coverage and asked to purchase images for print ads / posters / hero cards / etc. There can definitely be value in shooting without a specific client in mind, but you have to be careful about how you do it. For Drewl, he has a few steady clients that allow him to go to the events, and picks up a few other clients due to them seeing him at the events and needing photos. This is a good model to follow.


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Myboostedgst
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Oct 08, 2013 09:43 |  #25

drewl wrote in post #16352891 (external link)
i work for a couple of formula d teams and rally america teams and email them photo sets after each round. that's my bread and butter.

i also sell individual photos to other pro and amateur drifters and rally drivers from time to time. no one driver is really steady but all together it's steady enough.

because i'm at all of those events, i can create content for lifeblasters.com and attract advertisers that way. occasionally other sites buy photos from me, either because one of their photogs missed something important or they didn't have a photog available for some event.

the teams i work for also sometimes have special events like practice/testing days or shows or things like SEMA that they need covered, so they pay me to go shoot those events.

almost all of what i do is for BUSINESSES who need material for advertising/promotion satisfying sponsors, and news coverage. i've made very little money selling stuff to people who just want to have a picture of themselves.

I do agree, that to sustain a automotive photography business you need to look into providing work for a business. I do not see the private client market being big enough to support a full time career, let alone a part time gig.

I would like to get my name out there shooting private clients. My goal is to speak to a few people competing in events, contract out with them for cheap, and then have others in the events, and the event coordinators see my coverage of their event and speak to them about contracting for the entire event. This is definitely in the future though, so there is a lot of work to do before heading down that road.

JacobPhoto wrote in post #16353139 (external link)
I think I know which car you shot. It's a car I shot when it first landed on the US, it's a pretty sweet car! It's a Nismo edition, right?

One thing I've learned is that while photos are nice, editorial outlets often want a story along with it. I have two clients who specifically use me not just because I can provide photos but can also provide the story as a turn-key one-stop solution. They get both parts of the story in one invoice, and they know I am able to cater my story towards their specific writing style. I also bring many features to them that they would not have otherwise known about. To them, this makes me more valuable than your 'average' photographer who might just be able to provide photos once or twice a year when there's a feature that is needed in the city they are located in.

Drewl also brings up a good point of having your own publishing outlet to showcase some of your work that others might be interested in. When I started out, I shot for an event coverage site that also did occasional features. One of the magazines saw a feature I shot on the site and reached out about running the car in the magazine. What started out as a free shoot for a friend's website turned into a paid shoot simply because the shoot fit a need for another client. I also ran my own event coverage site for awhile, and had several advertisers reach out to me who saw my coverage and asked to purchase images for print ads / posters / hero cards / etc. There can definitely be value in shooting without a specific client in mind, but you have to be careful about how you do it. For Drewl, he has a few steady clients that allow him to go to the events, and picks up a few other clients due to them seeing him at the events and needing photos. This is a good model to follow.

I doubt this was the same car. This was not a Nismo edition, and it was just brought from Canada in the last week. It is a slightly beat up, GT, bone stock car (although it is still a true Skyline, so that's not something that you see everyday). Didn't really get any great photos of the car, but good enough that they are the first decent (non camera phone) shots of the car since he got it a few days ago.

There have been a number of local car clubs popping up in the last year or so. I am going to start shooting for them more often, covering events and doing shoots of their members cars. I do plan on providing an editorial along with them, although I do not have any experience so I will need to work on that aspect of it. But with getting visibility through these groups, I will open up the majority of the import scene in my area, and hopefully get my name big enough to start booking some private clients for shoots. Who knows, as one local in my area did, cover a few events for them and get recognized and start shooting for Jalopnik or another online publication.

That is the goal at least for right now.


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Automotive Photography - How do you make money
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